We've done stories over the years, some about the image of the divine on a tortilla, something reflected off of a screen porch. This, though, is unlike anything that those images may have projected. For some, it is unmistakable.
It is the national shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor, named for the Virgin Mary and a plea for immediate help. So it was a week before Easter when a high school student at the Urseline Academy went in to the chapel for prayer and saw something remarkable -- a shadow projected on a column beside the altar. The central image looks remarkably like a picture of Christ. Some see what appears to be the face of the Virgin Mary, as well. A few others report seeing a third image.
The effect has brought throngs of people through the typically quiet chapel. The cause of the image though is easily explained; it was created by a floodlight shining through a chandelier.
"The way we know it is when we put the bright lights on, it disappears; when we stand in front of it, it disappears," Urseline Prioress Sister Carla Dolce said.
And yet the effect is so remarkable. It may have been here for awhile but no one noticed -- or wanted to admit it. But now, word of the image has spread throughout New Orleans.
"We just got to go up there and see it for the blessing," one visitor said.
During Easter, more than a thousand people passed through the chapel in one day. Some curious, some in awe but all in search of something. It is a trick of the light that, for the people who come here, touches their hearts and that's why it's remarkable.
"If our hearts become kinder and we become gentler when we walk out of the doors, the world different. It's a kinder and gentler world," Dolce said.
The chapel is open from 9am-5pm weekdays, and on afternoons on weekends. Dolce says, as far as Mass is concerned, it is not yet standing-room only.